Before UAE attained its independence, its economy was characterized by basic economic activities such as agriculture and fishing. After the discovery of oil, the economy of the country grew significantly as the oil industry accounted for about 35 % of the GDP. By 2005, UAE had recorded significant growth in oil production.
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The revenue earned from oil was spent on education, infrastructure and creation. Increase in the prices of oil in the 1970s earned the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries financial resources which led to the growth of many economic development programs that required acquisition of non-national labor. However, oil prices dropped in the mid 1980s causing massive unemployment in UAE (emiritization now, 2011). This paper will examine unemployment in UAE.
Unemployment Overview in UAE
The increase in oil prices in the 1970s led to a surge in economic development programs in UAE and national labor shortage which was derived from the public sector. This implied that the country had to rely on foreign labor.
In the 1980s, more than 80 percent of the labor force was comprised of non-nationals. The oil prices fell in 1986 causing a decline in the share of non-national labor. This increased the number of nationals who were looking for jobs. The trend continued from 1990s onwards due to demographic pressures (Albuainain, n.d).
Unemployment in UAE is high since it is comprised of nationals and expatriates who enter the country constantly. In recent years, unemployment has turned into an acute problem due to increase in population and expansion in the number of graduates leaving high schools and universities.
The increased unemployment has affected both the economy and the society negatively. This situation has forced the government to deal with political pressure and spent huge amounts of money on social benefits. As a result, the stability of the economy has been affected and misallocation of resources has set in.
Causes of Unemployment in UAE
The increase in unemployment rates in UAE has been associated with various causes. Some of the causes have been addressed by the government while others have not been unaddressed. This implies that there is still the need to address the problem of unemployment in UAE in order to ensure stability of the country. Increase in unemployment rates causes instability and unrest in countries (Azri, 2010).
Unwillingness of Men and Women to Work in Certain Occupations
One of the factors that have been cited as a cause of unemployment in UAE is that both men women have not been prepared to work in certain occupations. This basically has implied that there are certain jobs that have been considered to belong to men while others have been considered to be women jobs. This has been a chronic problem in UAE that has contributed towards increase in unemployment.
For instance, women in UAE have been bound by cultural beliefs that have prevented them from working in non-segregated offices. Instead of fighting for positions in such offices with men, they have believed that they are not supposed to work in such places hence they have been shying away from job opportunities they could occupy.
For instance, women in UAE have believed that professions like engineering should only be reserved for men (Emirates economist, 2007). Consequently, they have contributed towards unemployment by choosing to be discriminatory with regard to the jobs they do.
This problem can be solved by providing women in UAE with the right knowledge about working in non-segregated offices. What they should understand is that the world has changed and there is nothing wrong with women working in such offices. In addition, women who have already joined the non segregated sectors should play an important role in educating the rest of the women who believe that they should not join such sectors.
By doing this, women will be prepared to take up jobs in the non-segregated industry and discard cultural beliefs that prevent them from taking up the positions. The eventual outcome will be a reduction in unemployment rates (Shaffer, 2012).
Men on the other hand have not been willing to work in jobs that have been considered low ranking. After they graduate from colleges, most men have been focusing on looking for jobs that have been considered prestigious and of a higher class. However, this is not what has always been happening due to limited job opportunities.
Since they have been considering themselves educated, they have not been taking up certain jobs even when they get the chances because they have been considering the jobs of lower ranks and jobs that would demean their social classes. This problem can be solved by educating men on the importance of taking up jobs that they get first as they look for the high-ranking jobs they wish to get.
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The second reason why men in UAE do not take up certain jobs is because they lack the required education to fit in the jobs. There are certain jobs that require individuals who possess a certain level of education and unless they have the qualifications, this prevents them from accessing the jobs. As a result, unemployment rates among men in UAE continue to increase.
The problem of lack of education can be solved by encouraging men to go to school and receive education. They can be motivated by showing them the problems that accompany individuals who lack sound education since it becomes difficult for them to get good jobs.
Heavy Dependence on Foreign Labor
The second major cause of unemployment in UAE is the country’s heavy dependence on foreign labor. The first reason why the country relies on foreign labor is lack of individuals of Emirati nationality who have specialized skills.
There are certain fields that require specialized individuals with high knowledge and in the event that the country fails to get the personnel among the UAE nationals, reliance on foreign labor becomes an option.
As a result, this increases unemployment rates among UAE citizens. In order to solve this problem, the government should sponsor UAE nationals by giving scholarships for them to study and acquire the specialized skills required.
The second reason why UAE relies on foreign labor is that some organizations simply prefer employees from the west as opposed to employing Emiratis. They usually believe that the westerners have the capacity to provide quality services that improve their organizations.
On the contrary, the organizations do not believe that Emiratis have enough knowledge and expertise to provide quality services. This in turn leads to unemployment among UAE nationals. The government can address this problem by enforcing Emiritization laws and raising the number of UAE nationals that should be employed in the country’s organizations and corporations.
Unemployment is a serious problem that has been witnessed in UAE in the recent past. Both men and women have been suffering from unemployment since they have not been able to meet their needs. Different factors have been cited as the possible causes of unemployment in UAE. There are various solutions to the problems that should be initiated by the government but the society should be supportive of government efforts.
Albuainain, R. (n.d). Unemployment Rate in the United Arab. Web.
Azri, s. (2010). Unemployed Youth in the UAE: Personal Perceptions. New York: Diane Publishing.
Unemployment in the UAE. (2007). Web.
Unemployment among Emirati youth – findings of Emirates Foundation sponsored research. (2011). Web.
Shaffer, B. (2012). Beyond the Resource Curse. New York: University of Pennsylvania Press.